Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Firehouse Restaurant: one month and counting down

I cannot wait for Firehouse to open. Matthew and his wife Elizabeth, and Matthew's partner Eric, are great new neighbors. Last evening, the dogs and I took a stroll down to their place to see what's going on. They've got the new raised beds in, with lettuce and tomatoes showing, as well as fruit trees and an herb garden. The stone patio is finished --that was a labor of love, painstakingly built, rock by rock. This place is going to be epic - it is going to be the new cornerstone of the Woodlawn Neighborhood, I believe. The historic building already is, but having sat vacant for so long, it lost its lure. Now, we are poised on the verge of a renaissance.

Here is the news release:

"Firehouse is a new restaurant opening on the main floor of the historic Dekum Firehouse in NE Portland, owned by Eric Rose and Matthew Busetto. The focus is on the food they love to share with friends and family-simple, honest, ingredient driven and guided by seasonality. Firehouse will feature local meats, sustainably harvested fish and seafood, and regional. farm-direct produce. Central and Southern Italian influences and the wood-fired oven, rotisserie and grill, highlight these ingredients and allow the simple, honest flavors to shine. Firehouse will also be featuring house-made breads, pastas, sausages, and cured meats well as pastries. A vegetable and herb garden on the grounds of the Firehouse as well as a variety of fruit trees will provide the kitchen with additional fresh picked produce in season.

The original firehouse was built in 1905 in the heart of the community of Woodlawn. Matthew and Eric, along with Matthew’s wife, Elizabeth, who will be opening a naturopathic clinic on the second floor of the building, and with the help of numerous friends in the community, have refurbished the historic building from the ground up, doing as much of the work themselves as possible, restoring some of the original luster and bringing new life to a beautiful building in this revitalizing community.

Eric and Matthew have an intense passion for food and cooking, with over 35 years combined experience in the restaurant and food service business. Eric was the general manager of the pioneering Ron Paul Charcuterie for nine years where he began to develop strong relationships with local growers, and purveyors. He later joined New Seasons Market at its inception as its food service director developing and overseeing the deli and specialty cheese programs. During that time he intensified his commitment and focus on working on relationships with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and cheesemakers. Matthew has worked in restaurants, beginning when he was 16 while growing up in the Bay Area. He continued to work through college until he finally gave in to his passion and committed himself to kitchen work full-time. After working along California’s north coast he attended the California Culinary Academy to be closer to his Bay Area home and hone his skills in San Francisco at Restaurant LuLu and MoMo’s. After a 3 year hiatus in Alaska, Matthew and his wife Elizabeth moved to Portland looking to be involved in its burgeoning restaurant scene. After working at clarklewis Matthew began working at New Seasons Market, for the last 2 years as Store Chef, and it was there that he and Eric met.

Eric and Matthew plan to continue their efforts towards sustainability, building relationships with local producers and purveyors, and strong neighborhood and community involvement, that were a major part of thier focus at New Seasons."

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